Commenting on the retail sales figures for August published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:  

“Retail sales fell last month, despite widespread expectation that there would be a small increase. These figures support the view that although GDP will remain in positive territory in the third quarter of the year, there will be a significant slowdown in the rate of growth.   

“While weaker than expected, the figures are not entirely surprising given the squeeze on people’s disposable incomes and the pressures facing consumers as well as businesses. These pressures will inevitably intensify as the Government implements its deficit cutting programme, highlighting the need to rebalance the economy towards exports.  

“Since risks of an economic setback remain serious, it is critical for the Government and the Monetary Policy Committee to concentrate on supporting the fragile economic recovery.”